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Benitez hails Mata as Chelsea close on Man City

Published on Dec 27, 2012 9:00 AM
 
Chelsea FC's coach Rafael Benitez, left, welcomes his player Juan Mata leaving the pitch during their semifinal match against CF Monterrey at the Fifa Club World Cup soccer tournament in Yokohama, near Tokyo, on Thursday, Dec 13, 2012. Benitez praised Mata after his winner at Norwich City took the London club to within four points of second-place Manchester City in the Premier League. -- PHOTO: AFP

NORWICH, United Kingdom (AFP) - Chelsea coach Rafael Benitez praised Juan Mata after his winner at Norwich City took the London club to within four points of second-place Manchester City in the Premier League.

The Spain midfielder claimed his 13th goal of the season seven minutes before half-time at Carrow Road on Wednesday to decide a contest that lacked many other goal-scoring opportunities.

"Mata is a player who is very dangerous getting into the box and also outside the box, so we are very pleased with him," said Benitez, who had seen his players humble Aston Villa 8-0 in their previous game.

"He is in form and the team is too, as we have now won three games in a row. He is doing really well. Even without the ball, he is working really hard and when we are in possession, he is making a difference.

 
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